The author of that seminal work, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, David Augustus Embury was born on this day in 1886 in Pine Woods, upstate New York. He is something of a hero of ours.
No matter that this high-flying tax lawyer never worked behind a bar in his life: his experience, he remarked, was "entirely as a consumer and as a shaker-upper of drinks for the delectation of my guests". His home bar was an edifice many saloons would have envied.
He was a sociable chap, whose career success was partly down to his ability to draw in new clientele. Embury's 1948 volume would become a bible for 1950s middle-class entertaining and his knowledge of cocktail origins, theories of flavour, and his lucid, almost scientific approach to drink make his book an essential resource for professional bartenders even now.
If you are a fan of Embury (or even if you have yet to discover him), we recommend you join us in one of the great man's own creations, the Larchmont. Embury classified this as a take on the rum sour and named it for the village in Westchester County, New York where he lived for many years. Happy birthday, David Augustus Embury. You are gone, but not forgotten.